Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:29-31
When we as camp directors sat down and talked about what Winter Camp 2017 would look like, this passage of scripture rose above the rest. In just a couple of sentences Jesus takes the entirety of the 613 Levitical laws and beautifully pares them down to two. First, love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength.
When we look at those four things we often want to separate them and turn them into a checklist of things to love God with. Maybe we can love Him with our heart and our strength but our mind and soul aren’t fully there. Sometimes we dedicate whole aspects of our lives to God and hold back small portions, or we only give a tiny bit to God and try to do the rest on our own. When Jesus named these four He didn’t mean we could pick and choose any combination at any time. All four coexist and work together to form the whole of our being.
In a world of increasing doubt and indecisiveness, what would it look like if students loved God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strength? As we read Mark 12 we saw all over again that Jesus isn’t asking for just a PORTION of who we are but ALL of who we are. Every facet of our being ought to be fully devoted to Him.
Second, Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In a culture that is steeped in the knowledge of “loving ourselves” Jesus wants us to divert that love to others. To place others before ourselves is a daily, and difficult choice that cannot be done if we do not first love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. To truly love our neighbors as ourselves means we need to show the people around us the gospel, and when we do that, our neighbors can then love God with their all. It’s cyclical.
In the second half of verse 31 Jesus says, “There is no other commandment greater than these.” It’s about loving God and loving others, plain and simple. From that sentence comes our theme title: “That’s It!” It’s as if Jesus was saying, “Focus on these two.” Our desire this winter is to challenge students to love God and love others with ALL of who they are. Oftentimes we find ourselves over-complicating what Jesus really meant to be simple. Love God. Love others. That is the greatest commandment, and that, well…that’s it!
For info on Winter Camp visit hume.org/winter